Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Whether it's the claws of a carnivorous caterpillar or the clashing mandibles of warring ants, the most fascinating insect-parts are often the smallest – and we love getting a good look. Macrophotography is one of the best ways to do just that, and the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab's collection offers some of the best close-up views of insects we've seen.

The Lab's Flickr album comprises over 1,200 macro-images captured by photographer and lab director Sam Droege at sites throughout the U.S., Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Droege's subjects include not just bees, but a variety of plants and insects that bees interact with. Above, for instance, is a head-on shot of a North American paper wasp, photographed in Beltsville, Maryland earlier this year. Like the dimple-riddled headgear of this stinkbug, the minute details of the wasp's head are revealed here through a photo-editing technique called "stacking."

Included here is a handful of our favorite shots, but you'll find a lot more on the USGS BIML's photostream.

All images and captions by Sam Droege via USGS.

Japanese Burrowing Cricket, Beltsville, MD, July 2012

Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face


Anthophora bomboides, male, May 2012, Allegany County, Maryland
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Hoplisoides xerophilus, Cuba, GTMO Naval Base, 2012
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Chrysochus auratus, dogbane beetle, Beltsville, Maryland, 2012
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Eugloss dilemma, male, Florida, Biscayne National Monument, 2012
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Unknown Wasp, Yellowstone National Park, 2012
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Clerid Beetle, Enoclerus ichneumoneus, Prince George's County, Maryland, 2012
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Leafhopper, Sharpshooter Collected in November 2012 Dominican Republic at high elevations in central highlands (yes, those are real colors)

Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face


Lace bug of unknown species, Beltsville, Maryland, 2013

Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face


Collops bipunctatus, taken from flowers in Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Unknown large weevil from Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, 2013
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Leptochilus acolhuus, Key Biscayne National Park, Florida
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Fly, Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming
Macrophotographs of insects to melt your face

Huge hat tip to Joe Hanson for bringing this photo collection to our attention!